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BargeGazer

3D Printer Advice please

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I see several people here using 3D printers for very advanced things. I am wanting to print relatively small and simple parts for my Astronomy and Photographic projects, although probably, once adept at the technology, things will doubtless spiral upwards.

Anyway the advice I am seeking is what machines to look at and what forums are the best to start with. Also what is the best design software to start with. I am computer literate being of the generation that designed the early computers rather than just pressed buttons on a fancy screen!

I am UK/Europe based and fairly adept mechanically and electronically but I don't want the project to be spent building and fettling a printer - I want to get designing and printing fairly quickly. I don't mind an assembly job though.

Thanks for any advice.

david

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Hi David,

I'm biased, but some of the best thought of open-source printers, currently available, would be those from Prusa (https://shop.prusa3d.com/en/), I have a MK2s. They are reasonably priced, either as a kit (very detailed build instructions) or fully built & tested.

Prusa also provides a full software suite to make the creation of objects as painless as possible, I even use the software to create object files for my other printers.

 

 

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Hi David,

There was a fairly recent thread I gave an answer on and this was my first post on that thread:

Just to let you know of my experience.

I have been interested in 3D printing for years (I think I first saw the idea on Tomorrows World so far back can't remember probably 30+ years ago). Obviously then they weren't readily available and certainly not to the general public. My interest was re-sparked a few years ago when somebody at work brought some bits into work he had printed himself. But the quality was poor and since then held off buying one till they could produce better quality prints (as I thought that was the usual quality of current cheap printers). But early last year couldn't wait any longer and bought a Prusa clone off Ebay for around £120. It was a kit but not difficult to assemble, no soldering just nuts and bolts. I was really surprised how good the prints were from something so cheap. Not perfect and it was not the easiest machine to set up to get the first layer just right which is a must to produce good prints.

Anyway I was thoroughly obsessed with this printer and it was never off. Sometimes larger detailed prints can take many hours (some I have done nearly 3 days). After spending more than my initial outlay on upgrades which did vastly improve quality I bought an original Prusa (actually a Prusa Mk2S). Again a kit and was around £500. I had to wait 2 months for delivery but wow, well worth the wait.

It is easy to use, and the quality was just unbelievable. Wish I had bought one to begin with and saved around £400 on the clone after all it's upgrades. I really would recommend this make of printer. They now have a new version, Mk3 if you couldn't guess. Price is now more like £700 but really has some neat upgrades on it. Such as if power goes off then you can continue the print. On mine this is not possible and if power fails then even if I have been printing for many hours I have to start all over again. Also it detects if the filament runs out or breaks and again allows you to reload filament and carry on. 

A note on the filament as well the quality of the filament does reflect the quality of the print you will get. But you don't have to pay a fortune. I bought a lot of my filament to begin with off Amazon and some was okay some not so good. I now have found a very good supplier at a reasonable price (around £20 per kilo and a kilo goes a long way as most prints are around 60 to 80% hollow). Also you need to keep filament dry as you can as the plastic will absorb water which obviously is not beneficial to the print when it hits the extruder at 220 to 280 degrees. Not as dificult as it sounds just buy some of those vacuum seal bags and some small bags of silica gel.

If you do go for an "Original" Prusa then they are only available from Prusa himself, which is in Czechoslovakia, but he ships all over the world. All the other ones you see on Amazon and Ebay are clones. Some may be very good though I cannot say they aren't.

The link to this thread in case so you can see other replies is:-

Which 3D Printer

I guess the best member to ask is Gina really she has done some amazing things with 3D printing, she has several replies on this thread.

Hope this helps

Steve

Edited by teoria_del_big_bang
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3 minutes ago, Dr_Ju_ju said:

Hi David,

I'm biased, but some of the best thought of open-source printers, currently available, would be those from Prusa (https://shop.prusa3d.com/en/), I have a MK2s. They are reasonably priced, either as a kit (very detailed build instructions) or fully built & tested.

Prusa also provides a full software suite to make the creation of objects as painless as possible, I even use the software to create object files for my other printers.

 

 

I guess I am biased this way as well :thumbright:

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Best is to listen to a few guys who tested far more printers than we do(or ever will)

https://www.youtube.com/user/ThomasSanladerer/videos

https://www.youtube.com/user/TheMakersMuse/videos

Still, my own suggestion is to test with a somewhat smaller printer. There are a few good and cheap printers on the market. Buying a smaller printer, you can test first and work your way up to a larger printer afterward.
I never spent more than 450€ on selfmade printers(built 'a few'), yet well built and tuned they will give you near perfect prints.

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Thanks everyone. That gives me plenty more to research. Just spent the afternoon getting to grips with Sketchup.

I imagine the used market for printers is a bit of a lottery.

David

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